“Curiosity is idle only to those who fail to realize that it may be a very rare and indispensable thing” – James Harvey Robinson
A breathy timid voice asks, “Why?” The mother looks down, rubbing her thumb along the petite ridge of hand in hers and regards her child’s inquisitive question. She smiles at the dance of wonder and awe that alights in her daughter’s eyes and tries to answer the question, knowing in her heart what ever answer she gives won’t satisfy.
Quick on the tail of her reply escapes another, “Why?” in her daughters singsong voice reminiscent of the tinkling melody of wind chimes swayed by a breeze and the dance begins again; over and over until either out of frustration or genuine alarm the mother realizing she has no more answers retorts, “Because I said so.”
In that moment the little girl's innocence becomes overshadowed on her minuscule features by a look of abject seriousness, outweighing her young age. No she’s not satisfied. There is more to the why and she wants her answer. She can’t move beyond until she understands and with purpose belying her age, she goes in search of yet another adult, another big human to question – why?
Do you remember that point in your life when you came to understand some questions would never truly be given a satisfactory answer? The possibility perhaps – there was no answer. We should, it’s a rite of passage of growing up and questioning everything and anything in our pursuit of knowledge and our relentless need to fill our curious natures. My question then is? When did you stop asking why?
Our adult selves tend to go with the flow, to accept things as they are rarely questioning the reasoning for what is. Until a child’s timid question charges the air demanding, “Why?”
I was never satisfied with not knowing the answer and went in pursuit of some form of adequate response. There had to be an answer that could fill the want in my child long enough before the next set of why(s) quickly resurfaced in curiosity. As an adult...I forget to ask myself why. Why did it matter so much to feed her curiosity - because it fed mine.
These days when I write, I see my writing with a child’s innocent curiosity. I believe I have most of the answers for my characters, but what if I don’t. What if for some reason what unfolds in the storyline doesn’t make sense to anyone at all? Can I trust that whomever is reading will go in pursuit of their own answers or do I try to answer the impossible and worry perhaps they will get frustrated and give up so easily at trying to comprehend - as they may tire with a child’s endless chorus of why?
Maybe if you look closely enough the answer is there, hidden in the depths of the long ago curious child inside of you. As a writer I can easily say, “Why not,” Why not live, why not die (from a characters point of view), why not smile, why not cry. For every why – if you remember that childlike wonder and gullible belief, there is a why not.
Life is complicated. Sometimes there really are no answers. For the ones we can find to fill our curiosity, those not readily available answers – I hope you never grow too old or wise to stop asking, “Why?”
Maybe that’s why I’m a writer. I’ve never stopped being curious and investigating the possibilities of life. My characters get to live all those myriad answers. I can only hope by the end of reading me, I have not fully answered your questions and leave you asking why. I’ll consider it a gift if I do. - Indigo
Picture from here